Revelation Chapter 11-October 15, 2014

Revelation Chapter 11:1-14

Measuring a place in biblical literature frequently connotes preservation or protection of what was measured.

The “court outside the temple” (normally considered part of the temple but reserved for “observers”) was not to be measured, in other words, protected.

One must either choose to be one of God’s people or choose to be the enemy of that people. In apocalyptic time there are only two sides-no others.

How long are these difficult periods to last? In typical apocalyptic fashion the answer comes: “forty-two months” (three and one half years), a short, indefinite period of time that will soon come to an end. During these days (1,260, also 3 ½ years), two witnesses are given power to prophecy. What are the witnesses?

According to John these two witnesses are generally described in the language of Zechariah 3-4, but they are even more specifically identified. One has the power to cause rain not to fall and to call-fire down upon his enemies. The other has the power to unleash plagues on the earth. It does not take long for that designation to become clear-these two witnesses are Elijah and Moses (1 Kings 17-19; 2 Kings 1:9-12; Exodus 7-12). Moses embodies the law and Elijah is the embodiment of the prophets. At the time of Revelation the Old Testament was only the Torah or Law and the Nebi’im or Prophets.

The transfiguration story Mark 9:2-8 and parallels, these same to figures appear with Jesus. This was to show that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets.

The challenge here is to the church to continue witnessing to God’s revelation and to preserve that revelation in the midst of these dark times. God’s people will indeed suffer and die for their witness.

Rome “the great city” attempts to suppress and eradicate the “two witnesses” seems to have been a success. This would be short-lived. The reader is told in verse 14 that the second woe has been completed and the third will come quickly. It seems reasonable to assume that each “woe” represents one of these three cycles of judgment. The seven trumpets is the second and the seven bowls in chapters 15-16 will be the last.

Chapter 11:15-19

The seventh trumpet when it sounded the last announcement came, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. This cycle of the trumpets demonstrates God’s active participation in judgment, describes the hideousness of the evil persecutors, tells the reader that God will shorten the time of persecution, calls for continued witness by the church to God’s revelation, and concludes with a great statement of trust and praise to the effect that the victory is certain. The world’s kingdom is already ruled over by God and Christ even though the final battles have not as yet been fought.

Revelation Chapter 10-October 1, 2014

Revelation Chapter 10:1-7

This interlude is a description of an angel coming to earth and appears to be linked back to chapter 4.

Clearly, he is the representative of these beings. The purpose of the angel seems to be to announce the “seven thunders,” but the command is given to “seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down” (v.4)

The best guess for this is that these thunders were seems to be another cycle of judgment. All the numbered cycles in this book are cycles of judgment and there is no reason to doubt that they are thunders would have been the same.

In apocalyptic there is almost always found the teaching that God shortens the time of suffering for the sake of the elect (Mark 13:20). Describing another cycle of judgment would have indicated a longer period before the end of the present persecution. If the cycle of the thunders in not written, then they will not come to pass, thus shortening the period of evil.

Revelation 10:8-11

The scene is reminiscent of that in the book of Ezekiel where the prophet was also called was also called on to “eat the scroll” (Ezekiel 2:8-3:3). The scroll is sweet to the mouth (it is always pleasing to denounce evil) but bitter to the stomach (the reality of judgment is never pretty no matter how well deserved).